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As Rocketman, the “musical fantasy” biopic showcasing Elton John's life and career, has been progressing through production, there have been certain promises made to the audience. Namely, that it will be a fantastical spin that also tells Sir Elton's personal story, including a no holds barred approach. Well, it looks like that promise is already coming into question, as recent whispers indicate that Paramount, the studio releasing the film, wants a nude scene cut from the film.
The story goes as follows: there's an approximately 40 second scene where Taron Edgerton and Richard Madden have what's been referred to as a “nude cuddle” in Rocketman. Reportedly this scene is offensive enough to the studio that they want it cut, and the filmmakers are fighting this decision through “heated discussions.” In other words, it sounds like the studio is balking at the more adult oriented approach, and those making the film aren't having it.
Some may think this argument is odd, considering Rocketman is poised to do what Bohemian Rhapsody would not in regards to same sex attraction. It's expected to be a biopic that could appeal to Elton John fans, while also showing his more R-rated vices, warts and all. However, the Bryan Singer directed film is exactly what Paramount is probably thinking about when putting the finishing touches on this piece of musical history; especially considering the meteoric ride that film has taken to the bank and a slew of Oscars.
With $879 million dollars in international grosses, and four wins out of five Academy Award nominations, Bohemian Rhapsody is more than likely going to be the benchmark most studios aim for when it comes to musical biopics. And that film has one key advantage when compared to Rocketman's more adult approach: its PG-13 rating allowed it a wider swath of audience members that could enjoy it in theaters.
So if Paramount has even a thought of making Rocketman a close to billion dollar success, it's more than likely that the studio wants to have a cozy PG-13 rating attached to it. Which makes this latest item from Baz Bamigboye's Twitter all the more believable, as well as that much more unfortunate. The issues that the studio seems to have with director Dexter Fletcher's movie don't seem rooted in any sort of moral grounding, but rather it feels like this is a business decision being made for the commercial viability of the film.
It'd be interesting to hear what Sir Elton John thinks of the Rocketman debacle, as he's been a driving force behind getting this project off the ground for some time now. With everyone from Justin Timberlake to Tom Hardy having their names put into the ring for consideration, it's been quite the road to where the film currently resides. If these reports get back to the right people, sooner or later there has to be a clarification as to whether the film will include the sex and nudity it's talked up, or if they back down and trim the film to a more blockbuster friendly extent.
Rocketman burns out its fuse in theaters, alone, on May 31, 2019.